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The Adopted Life - Harper's Story


Institute for Family

This film competed in
Reel Families Film Series


Bryan and I created this short documentary to highlight how a family prioritizes Neiko's well-being through keeping an open relationship with his biological mother. She is invited over regularly and is able to interact with her son anytime. Neiko's mother, Emily Thornton, is an adoptee who grew up in a closed adoption which led to her deep understanding for maintaining openness for their [adopted] son. Bruce did not have a connection to adoption prior to Neiko, but as a black man, he values keeping black families together whenever possible and thus innately understood the concept of openness. My role was both to interview the subjects and to utilize my personal story as a transracial adoptee as a natural launching point for stimulating necessary conversations such as racial identity formation, searching for and having open relationships with birth/biological families, and, in some cases, having little to no information about one’s biological families.